Gun Control
January 29th, 2013

Lauren Davis, one of three known visitors to this site, has sent me a link to what she thinks is an unusual story involving a law enforcement official in Nevada who recently penned a letter advising Vice President Joe Biden that “the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada will use my discretion and not enforce any new gun laws that may appear unconstitutional.”

Lauren, a transplanted Californian, clearly has a lot to learn about constitutional law as interpreted by Sheriff Ed Kilgore of Winnemucca. And if she thinks Nevada is unique, she should consider Utah, where all 28 members of the Utah Sheriff’s Association have signed a similar missive addressed to President Obama.

“Make no mistake, as the duly-elected sheriffs of our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights—in particular Amendment II—has given them.”

I’m somewhat heartened to learn that James Cordova, sheriff of Carbon County, did not sign the petition—at any rate, he claims he didn’t. “I would not take that heavy of a stand,” he says.

As one who grew up in Carbon County, I can attest that law enforcement officials there don’t generally like to take heavy stands on anything. At one time, for instance, the community of Helper alone boasted 27 saloons, three brothels and who-knows-how-many gambling dens—all of which were in violation of Utah law. Oh, well. What’s a sheriff to do? Bankrupt the local economy?

Which is not to say we were all just a bunch of scofflaws. There were generally agreed upon rules of conduct, and citizens who violated those rules would soon find themselves behind bars in the county jail. The only way to get out was to volunteer to serve as Sheriff Passaic’s golf caddie.

The sheriff and his deputy moonlighted as basketball referees, and for a time Passaic served as scoutmaster of our Boy Scout troop, and what a fun time that was! I fondly remember a field trip to the firing range, where we took turns blasting away at human-shaped targets with a Thompson submachine gun. Afterwards, we went to the police station, where we were shown how fingerprints are taken. I learned to tell the difference between a loop and a whorl, which knowledge I’m sure might one day become useful. Certainly it was useful knowledge for Sheriff Passaic, who over time amassed a file containing the fingerprints of all the juveniles in town. We didn’t realize we’d been had until it was too late.

Fay Gillette

Here is a picture I shot of longtime Tooele County Sheriff Fay Gillette. Sheriff Gillette was a law enforcement legend—highly regarded and much beloved by the citizens of Tooele County. So why is he looking at me like that? Just to let me know that he already knows exactly what I’ve been up to. And here I feel compelled to make a correction in regard to a previous affidavit in which I stated that the only firearm in my arsenal is a 30-30 carbine that my father once used to hunt deer. Turns out I also own a handgun, a .45-caliber semiautomatic that I inherited from my late father-in-law, who once worked as a security guard at a metals plant in Dallas. Currently, its various parts are stashed in various places around my house—this after I realized that a handgun on a nightstand next to a depressive during a winter inversion isn’t a very good idea. So before the feds can pry it from my live warm fingers, they’ll first have to ransack the house.

I very rarely shoot the gun because, quite frankly, unless you’re bent on killing yourself or someone very close to you, it’s of no use whatsoever. You couldn’t use it to hunt deer unless the deer you wanted to hunt was a close personal friend. Last time I took it out was a few months ago when we were entertaining guests from Australia. When Mike found out I own a handgun, he was eager to have a look at it—because handguns aren’t common down under. Aussies are much more advanced than Americans when it comes to gun control and also much less violent; that is, if you discount barroom brawling and barroom brawling’s organized counterpart, Australian rules football.

Anyhow, Mike was itching to have a go at the forty-five, but it took us awhile until we finally found a place way the heck out in the back country, far from the nearest human habitation. There we took turns firing at a plastic water bottle at close range, only to discover that plastic water bottles at close range have nothing to fear from us. Same goes for the wildlife.

Mike vs Jack

-Richard Menzies